Burket-Truby Funeral Home of Oakmont Burket-Truby Funeral Home of Oakmont Burket-Truby Funeral Home of Oakmont
  Burket-Truby Funeral Home of Oakmont Burket-Truby Funeral Home of Oakmont

Burket-Truby Funeral Home of Oakmont

Limbach, Walter

Walter Limbach, age 94, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, September 19. Beloved husband of the late Sarah Minard, he is survived by the children of his first marriage to the former and now deceased Ellen Kraeling - Elsa (Taras Filenko) and son Kurt (Debra), and grandchildren Matthew Limbach and Karolina Karagyozova, all of Pittsburgh. Walter, born and raised on the Northside, was the son of Sarah and Emil Limbach, who met as students at the Rand School in New York City. His parents’ commitment to progressive politics and social welfare would influence Walter, even as he followed in his father’s footsteps into the family business, Limbach Company. Walter’s boyhood political education included “Socialist Sunday School,” riding to coal mining towns in his father’s Essex to help hand out bread, and an introduction to an array of prominent political and union notables. In addition, the family home was a frequent rest stop for individuals fleeing Nazi persecution. Not focused solely on business and social issues, Walter had a profound appreciation for the arts. His love of theater was kindled during work on the stage crew at Perry High School, including an oft-mentioned production of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town.” As an adult, he regularly attended local theater, the Pittsburgh Symphony, and Chamber Music Pittsburgh, as well as making annual trips to the Stratford Festival. Graduating from high school in 1942, Walter was admitted to Lehigh University. His time on campus was interrupted by Uncle Sam’s call to service during WWII. He was recruited into the Navy’s V-12 program, which included study at MIT. His military service was all Stateside, training many other sailors in radio electronics. Dozens of letters home during the war years reveal Walter’s insightful analysis of current events, his continued interest in theater, and his prescience for new directions for Limbach Co. In one missive, he advised his father to consider shifting the company’s emphasis from roofing to mechanical systems, particularly air conditioning. After the war, Walter returned to Lehigh, graduating in 1947, with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. Following graduation, Walter entered the family firm, rising in a relatively short period from Facility Manager to Staff Manager to Executive Vice President for Pittsburgh operations. In 1958, Walter became President of the company, a role he fulfilled with enormous success until his retirement in 1989. During his tenure, Limbach Company grew from a regional firm to one with national and global reach in the field of plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning installation. Walter, along with his brother Scott Limbach, extended the operations of the Pittsburgh based firm, establishing branches in Columbus, Boston, Detroit, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles. Further accomplishments were the creation of a national division capable of building large HVAC projects virtually anywhere in the U.S., along with a facilities management subsidiary with contracts for complex sites such as Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta. Under Walter’s leadership, the talented Limbach Co. team built and serviced mechanical systems for hospitals, stadiums, airports, industrial plants, and large office buildings across the country, alongside specialty metal fabrication such as the roof of the Civic Arena. Limbach Co. became known as one of the nation’s most capable HVAC contractors, with the skills to build complex jobs featuring high quality workmanship, on time and on budget. Under Walter’s direction, the company had a reputation for treating its union workers and employees with respect and integrity. Deeply concerned about social welfare and devoted to his native Pittsburgh, Walter volunteered in many capacities and served on numerous boards, including the Hill House Association and Life’s Work. A lifelong Steelers fan, Walter maintained season tickets for decades, never wavering during the lean years. Personally disciplined, always moderate in diet and regular in exercise, Walter took up skiing in his 40s, continuing through his 80s, enjoying annual trips with Kurt, Debi, and Matt. Walter was known in the business world as a man of superior intelligence, great fairness, and honesty. Reserved and serious, he also revealed a softer side, in his devotion to family, special affection for the family pets, and a lifelong love of Winnie the Pooh. Walter’s family wishes to express their enormous gratitude to Longwood at Oakmont and the many kind caregivers who assisted him in his last years. Contributions may be made in Walter’s memory to the PBS NewsHour or to WQED Pittsburgh. Arrangements by BURKET-TRUBY FUNERAL HOME CREMATION & ALTERNATIVE SERVICES, INC. Oakmont